SPOKANE, Wash. - A jury has refused to convict an ex-Spokane Police detective of obstructing a fish and game officer. Despite the deadlocked jury, the incident he was on trial for cost veteran Spokane Police detective Jeff Harvey his job.
After leaving court Wednesday jurors, who were in a 5-1 deadlock for acquittal, said they felt taking this case to trial was a waste of taxpayer money. Prosecutors, however, insist they had evidence the crime of obstruction had occurred and didn't want to shy away from the case because Harvey was a police officer.
The incident happened back on January 22 after hunters up on the Peone Prairie called the wildlife officer to report some teens had shot some ducks after hours. They gave the fish and game agent the license plate of truck that picked the boys up and the vehicle was pulled over.
According to that agent, the driver, Jeff Harvey, didn't want the officer to talk to the boys and Harvey had to be restrained from walking back to his truck. Prosecutors charged Harvey with one count of obstruction.
"We have to treat everybody in the process the same. We have to treat Mr. Harvey as we would treat Mr. John Smith out there. If he did the same thing we'd charge him," Deputy Prosecutor Brian O'Brien said.
Fish and Game Officer Dave Spurbeck wrote in his affidavit that when he learned Harvey was a detective he "was shocked that a police officer would treat another police officer the way he treated me."
However once in trial, the jury felt Harvey was only trying to protect his sons from being interrogated. Then Harvey's attorney, Rob Cossey, dug up the fact that the hunter who reported the incident was a good friend with Spurbeck and that Spurbeck had called that man back before and after his contact with Harvey.
The jury apparently felt Harvey's sons were singled out for enforcement by other hunters who didn't want the teens on their turf.
"These people wanted Jeff Harvey and his family not to be able to hunt there and I think that's pretty obvious by the number of contacts and phone calls and their actions and that's what we were able to show to the jury," Cossey said.
Harvey was fired from the Spokane Police Department in July; a day after his firing he filed a $10 Million lawsuit against the City of Spokane "for loss of and/or damage to his reputation, loss of career, humiliation [and] outrage."